2014 AGM Report
Hon. Secretary and Treasurer’s Report
You will see there is an overall deficit of £2,249 shown in this year’s accounts. This was essentially caused by a reduction of more than £1,000 (£1,050) in subscription income and a decrease of £665 in profit from last year’s Annual Conference/AGM. Our Capital Account does however remain at a healthy level of just over £12,000 (£12,080). Whilst the good increase in this year’s membership numbers will benefit next year’s accounts, we may need, to ensure we keep our books balanced, to take a fresh look at subscription levels, which have remained unchanged for some time, and/or the basis on which they are charged. The Society’s subscription income has, to date, come solely from its Panel Members and we may, therefore, need to look at other potential sources of revenue.
I am pleased to report that the Membership of our Panel is in good shape, with numbers increasing by a net 17 over last year. During the year, some 20 new Members were appointed and there were just 3 lapses or resignations. As at today’s date, the Society’s Panel Membership stands at exactly 100, excluding our 2 Honorary Members, Hugh Thompson and Dr Peter Frey.
Once more, the largest discipline represented within our membership is underwriting. However, as most of our new members come from the Bar, the legal profession now has almost as strong a representation. Other disciplines such as claims, broking and accountancy are relatively unchanged.
The actual numbers (excluding our Honorary Members) currently stand as follows:
Whilst our new Members are all domiciled in the UK and thus boost our domestic representation, it is pleasing to see a continuing overseas presence. At 24, overseas membership remains roughly a quarter of the total. Our current membership comes from:
and one each from Bermuda, Norway, Sweden and Spain. We are especially pleased to welcome those overseas members who are with us here today.
Of the overall Panel Membership, 93 Members currently feature on the Society’s website. This is an increase of 17 over last year. The number of Panel Members including their photographs on the website is also well up at 59, an increase of 21 over last year and now representing the majority. The opportunity is of course still there for those members who have so far not taken up this facility.
To assist with the selection of Panel Members willing to take sole arbitrator appointments either under the AFTAR Rules or otherwise, an “SA” logo appears against the website entry of each such Member. Currently, some 45 Members are so designated. The AFTAR Rules (effective 3rd October 2013) together with a set of Frequently Asked Questions have been posted on the website as has the 3rd Edition of the ARIAS Rules (effective 1st January 2014) and an up-date of the ARIAS Mediation Scheme. Having noted a substantial increase in website traffic from tablets and other mobile devices, our website designers suggested we should consider a more iPad-friendly version of the site. This was agreed and has just been activated.
Now turning to website “hit rates” or “visits”, these totalled, for the year to date, 3,433. This is 5.0% up on the same period last year and averages almost 700 per month. The shift to mobile devices continues with tablet/phone visits up by nearly 50% and now accounting for 12.0% of all traffic. Unsurprisingly, Panel Members’ pages and our Rules remain the top 2 most accessed sections although Mediation Scheme visits are up by nearly 50% albeit from a relatively low base. Reflecting the International nature of our business, visits from outside the UK accounted for some 42.0% of all traffic and, in all, came from 95 countries.
As always, we welcome suggestions as to any enhancements Members would like to see to the website.
Finally, as regards our Tutorials, there remains insufficient demand to justify another one as yet. We are, however, constantly monitoring the position – so, if you would like to attend one, David Holmes would be pleased to register your interest.
Hon. Secretary, Treasurer and Panel Member, ARIAS (UK)
6th June 2014.